Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli bin Masagos Mohamad, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs, at Arif Budiman Lecture 3 2010 organised by Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee (MLLPC) and MOE, at MOE Edutorium, Saturday, 30 January 2010, 8.30 am

Mr Mohamed Noh Daipi
Assistant Director/Languages and Literature Branch
Curriculum Planning and Development Division

Emeritus Professor
Datuk Dr Nik Safiah Abdul Karim

Guest Researcher
Academy of Malay Studies
University of Malaya

Teachers, parents, students, ladies and gentlemen

Good morning


It gives me great pleasure to be with you this morning at the 3rd Arif Budiman Lecture Series 2010, organised by the Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee (MLLPC) and the Malay Language Unit, Ministry of Education. This lecture series which was held since last year has become a platform for the disseminating and sharing of knowledge on Malay language and culture among our community.

The focus of today’s lecture entitled “Elevating Malay Language In a Borderless World” will create greater awareness and deepen our appreciation towards Malay language, literature and culture in facing challenges in the globalised world.

Challenges to Sustain Interest

Ladies and gentlemen, we are committed to continuously nurture and develop the capacity and proficiency of our students in learning and appreciating Malay language, literature, culture and values. Although our students are facing challenges in their learning of the language, we will strive to make their learning more meaningful and enjoyable, and thus develop a keen interest in learning the language in this rapidly globalised world.

Hence the content knowledge and pedagogical skills of our teachers need to be continuously developed to meet the learning needs of our students. This in turn would allow effective inculcation and nurturing of language skills and cultural appreciation among our students. It is our aspiration that the future generation will uphold their language heritage; as Malay proverb says; “Just as a tree bears fruits, humans do good deeds.”

Elevating Malay Language

Ladies and gentlemen, continuous efforts have been made to emphasise the importance of the mother tongue languages in Singapore. The effective implementation of our bilingual policy is a testimony of this. It has benefited our students and the community as well as the development of Singapore’s education system. The decision to make mother tongue languages a compulsory subject has proved to be fruitful in our education system.

The bilingual policy has given us the opportunity to continue upholding the relevance of mother tongue languages in this ICT and globalised era. We could ensure the continued development of Malay language through efforts to review its teaching and learning, making it parallel to the needs of our students and education landscape. Therefore, our teachers need to be equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills pertaining to language, literature and culture in order to continue elevating the importance of Malay language.

Malay Language Centre of Singapore

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to announce that the Ministry of Education has decided to establish the Malay Language Centre of Singapore which is scheduled to operate from July this year. MLCS will be headed by a Centre Director, Mr Mohamed Noh Daipi. He will be supported by full time professional staff which includes three Master Teachers, i.e. Mr Mohd Naim Daipi, and two new appointees: Mr Mohd Khir Mohd Sapuan and Mdm Fadilah Isnin. Congratulations to both Mr Mohd Khir and Mdm Fadilah for their appointment as Master Teachers this year.

The decision to establish the MLCS is in line with our mission to support Malay language teachers in their professional development through in-service training programmes. MLCS has the vision to improve the quality of teaching and learning of Malay language in Singapore. I am confident that the establishment of MLCS is a much awaited announcement for all.

The formation of MLCS augurs well with our efforts to improve the teaching and learning of Malay language in the midst of the changing profiles of our students and teachers. MLCS will also provide mentoring support for teachers, guiding them to conduct action research and developing school-based curriculum. In the long run, we hope this will enhance the capacity of our Malay language teachers in Singapore.

However, we must be aware that the efforts to elevate the importance of Malay language are not the sole responsibility of our educators but also the responsibility of every individual in the community. We need to work together to ensure that the Malay language will continuously be used in our daily communication to sustain its importance and as part of our identity.

As such, I would like to urge all teachers to continue your efforts to nurture the capacity and interest of our students in Malay language by using effective and creative teaching strategies. To all students, I encourage you to use Malay language fluently and confidently. To parents, I hope that you support the use of Malay language at home as a mean of communication in fostering closer family ties.


To conclude, I would like to commend the MLLPC secretariat and MLU officers, MOE who have worked together to organise this event. A big thank you to Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Nik Safiah Abdul Karim, who will share her knowledge and expertise with all of us.

Thank you to all who are here today and to those who have been supporting us in this Arif Budiman Lecture Series. I hope we will continue to enrich our interest in Malay language and culture.

Thank you.